8 Tips for driving electric vehicles in Canadian winter

by Jan 19, 2023Driving tips, Electric cars0 comments

In Canada, Tesla and other electric vehicles have become very popular in recent years. During the cold weather, the biggest concern for most Canadians is winter driving, especially when driving electric vehicles. The cold Canadian winters present certain difficulties for all drivers. While driving electric vehicles in winter use more energy and have a shorter electric range, the latest generation of electric vehicles is actually built to withstand the harsh Canadian winters.

Driving electric vehicles in the Canadian winter just requires some planning, so keep reading to check out some useful tips for driving electric vehicles and getting the most out of your electric ride during the colder months. 

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Be aware of range variation

Before we look into the tips for driving electric vehicles in winter, keep in mind that several factors, including ambient temperature, can affect the range of an electric vehicle. The range of an EV may be reduced in cold weather because the battery’s performance may be affected. This is because the chemical reactions inside the battery that generate electricity become less efficient at colder temperatures. As a result, the battery may be unable to generate as much power as it would at higher temperatures, which results in a decrease in range.

Park your EV inside

If possible, keep your electric vehicle in an indoor garage or indoor parking facility when not in use. It will improve performance if your battery and car cabin are warmer. If you can’t park inside, try to park your car in a sunny spot during the cold weather.

Preparing your battery

One of the easiest tips for driving electric vehicles is to warm up your car before a trip. This allows you to save energy and leave with a hot, fully charged battery. Preheating the cabin before driving can help warm up the battery and improve its performance.

Preconditioning prior to travel can increase your range by 10-15%. Some EVs have a feature that allows you to preheat the cabin using a smartphone app or by setting a timer. While preconditioning, make sure your EV is plugged in and receiving electricity from the grid rather than the car.

Tips for driving electric vechiles

Check your tire pressure

As the temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires, resulting in increased friction and decreased efficiency on the road. You might save up to 10% of your typical range by doing so.

Check the pressure frequently to ensure the best range for your car. Many electric vehicles now have tire pressure monitoring systems, but if yours does not, learn how to check your tire pressure in order to increase the range.

Use the Eco mode

One important tip for driving electric vehicles in the winter is to use eco mode. The EV eco mode decreases the energy supply to the drive motor or cabin heaters, extending the range of your EV. Eco settings can make your EV safer to drive in the winter by limiting motor power. Your car’s acceleration will be slower, but it will be worth it for a more efficient winter driving experience. The eco mode of each EV is different, but they all attempt to reduce power consumption and increase range by reducing energy supply to the drive motor and other high energy consumption components.

Limit the use of cabin heaters

Onboard heating systems consume a lot of electricity. You should reconsider how you use the heater in the winter since HVAC use could reduce range by up to 30%. Limit the use of your cabin heater to extend your range. Use this tip for driving electric vehicles in the winter to extend your battery range. An alternative to warming up without draining the battery is to utilize heated seats and steering wheels for a short period of time. Warm clothing is recommended for those cold winter drives!

Plan your trips

There is a good network of public (free and paid) charging stations across Canada. However, if you are traveling long distances, locating charging stations for the entire trip is critical. Cold batteries are more resistant to charging, so EVs charge more slowly in cold weather. Make sure you have a 240V level 2 fast charger on hand for your main charge, whether it’s overnight or during the day. If you’re going on a long winter road trip in your EV, it’s a good idea to find out where the fast charging stations are. Connecting to a fast charger can extend the range of the EV’s battery by at least 100 kilometers in the time it takes to use the restroom, have a coffee, or buy a snack. When looking for a public charging station, keep in mind that a Level 3 charger is the fastest way to recharge your EV’s battery. It is advisable to keep one of these along your route for longer rides in the cold, when the battery will deplete more quickly. Therefore, planning your trip ahead of time can be very useful, as you can find some level 3 chargers along the way and plan for the breaks you may want to take during the trip.

EV road trip

Drive cautiously

The way you drive your EV is always a factor that impacts its range. The benefit of an EV is that many models incorporate regenerative braking systems and environmental modes that help extend battery life. The regenerative braking mechanism will be less effective in extreme cold temperatures because the batteries cannot take in as much energy as warm cells. Excessive acceleration and braking, as well as driving at high speeds, can all deplete battery range. Driving slower in winter is a useful tip for driving electric vehicles and is also safer for winter driving.

If you’re looking for a new or used electric vehicle, make sure to visit Carnex to find your dream car!

With Carnex, you can find the best electric vehicle for you at a price that fits your budget. Our professional EV experts perform a thorough diagnostic on each and every one of our electric vehicles at Carnex since we value your trust.


Learn more about the benefits of buying from Carnex. We believe that all clients deserve to know the good and bad of what they’re buying. Because we wanted to know these when we bought cars. That’s why at Carnex.ca, we will proudly display every detail every step of the way. Browse all the best cars, automobile buying tips, auto insurance, young drivers, driving techniques, auto industry trends from Carnex Blog.

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